''Friday the 13th'' is the latest horror franchise to get remade for a new generation.
Unlike ''Texas Chainsaw Massacre'' and ''Halloween,'' which rebooted the series, ''Friday the 13th'' leaves the original alone and essentially wipes out the many sequels that followed.
As ''F-13'' fanatics know, Jason Voorhees wasn't the killer in the first movie. The new version essentially repeats the closing scenes of the first movie, recreating his mother's death and showing Jason rise to avenge her by slaying the hedonistic young folks that keep coming back to Camp Crystal Lake.
This Jason never went to Hell or Manhattan and probably never met Freddy unless there is an Elm Street in this rural backwater town. He's just hunkered down in the old homestead near the camp, and the locals have learned, ''Somebody goes missin' round here, they gone for good.''
So a more accurate title may be ''Friday the 13th: Part II'' or really ''Friday the 13th: Parts II & III,'' because this Jason doesn't lumber - he runs - and he doesn't waste any time racking up a body count.
Before the words ''Friday the 13th'' appear on screen, director Marcus Nispel and screenwriters Damian Shannon and Mark Swift have covered the original and given Jason a group of college-aged kids to slice and dice (they're looking for a field of marijuana near the camp that they can poach).
WHAT: ''Friday the 13th''
STARS: Jared Padalecki, Danielle Panabaker, Aaron Yoo, Amanda Righetti, Travis Van Winkle and Derek Mears.
STORYLINE: Horny young people. Homicidal maniac. Slash, bleed, repeat.
DIRECTOR: Marcus Nispel
RATING: R for strong bloody violence, some graphic sexual content, language and drug material.
Then we get victim batch number two along with Clay Miller (Jared Padalecki), who is on a one-man crusade to find his sister Whitney, who was part of the group that ran into Jason earlier in the film.
The setting is different - these kids are holed up in a luxurious summer house instead of the actual camp - but the plot is the same: they have sex and smoke dope and Jason plucks them off one by one with assorted implements of destruction.
Nispel also directed the ''Texas Chainsaw Massacre'' remake, and he seems to take the same approach here. He's true to the spirit of the original without trying to ape it.
The difference is the original ''Texas Chainsaw Massacre'' is a much better film than the original ''Friday the 13th.''
I'll argue the artistic merits of Tobe Hooper's original ''Massacre'' or the skill John Carpenter demonstrated as a director on ''Halloween'' back in 1978, but the original ''Friday the 13th'' is the slasher movie at its most lunkheaded. The movie is a cattle prod of visceral stimulation - Boobs! Blood! Beheading! - with Tom Savini's special effects the only memorable element.
I watched it again over the weekend, and it hasn't aged well. Thanks to his appearance in the original, giving all his money to Bernie Madoff still is only the second most embarrassing thing Kevin Bacon has done.
Nispel treats the whole thing with a wink and a nudge while delivering a few legitimate scares. He's particularly good at playing with the possibilities vertically. Many of the most frightening moments involve attacks where Jason is above or below the victim.
The link between sex and death that has run through the series is played up to laughable extremes. The characters generally behave like contestants on a VH1 reality series, and the movie doesn't ask much of its photogenic cast except that they look good with their shirts - or their heads - off.
The only characters not driven by their libidos are Clay and Jenna (Danielle Panabaker), so in this world, they are the only ones who appear to have a chance at survival.
Nispel avoids the one tactic that earned the original ''Friday the 13th'' so much grief from social critics. Director Sean Cunningham (credited as a producer on this film) shot most of the attacks from the killer's point of view, essentially putting the audience in the role of the attacker.
Nispel doesn't want to be limited visually by that technique, but he does something that may be even more insidious. Most of the victims are such clueless dolts that they won't engender much sympathy. In a couple cases, viewers will be wishing Jason would hurry up and get rid of this idiot already.
''Friday the 13th'' turns a bloody, bawdy horror movie into a bloodier, bawdier horror movie. It may be as good as it could be without ignoring the source material entirely. Unfortunately, as good as it could be and good aren't the same thing.
Maybe Friday the 13th is considered unlucky because they keep releasing movies like this on that date.